Gardeners Get Stylish

When you go out to the garden, express your sense of style — and get the job done.

The Real Deal Hat, made from recycled canvas truck tarps. Inside the hat, it says, ” … don’t take care of this hat; it will take care of you. There is nothing you can do to this hat that hasn’t been done before …”

Me in my pinch-front hat.

Detail on the Real Deal Hat

Detail on the Real Deal Hat

Woody Harrelson

Zombie-killer Woody Harrelson in the Real Deal Hat.

In recent years, gardeners have become more and more fashionable. For instance, you can buy hot-pink gloves, flowered wellies and pumpkin-orange ankle boots. — and you can get them dirty. But if you really want to get fashionable, think about a hat. It says more about your sense of fashion than anything else.


Unfortunately, not everyone can wear a hat. Some people just don’t look good. If you’re not sure, ask a trusted, honest friend. What’s more, there are folks who won’t ever wear a hat. And it’s not like they just haven’t found the right hat. Not gonna happen.


For those who wear hats, the choices are better than ever. You can find Asian-style conical hats, crushable hats, visors, pith helmets and boonie hats. All provide some measure of protection from the sun. And that’s the thing I like about hats in the garden: They’re stylish and functional. You get to make a fashion statement and get the job done.

In my work as a landscaper, I wear a pinch-front style made of straw. It’s an old friend that keeps me from getting too much sun and makes customers think — if only for a second — that a Nashville superstar is pulling their weeds.

This year, I was excited to see a new hat in our summer lineup called the Real Deal Hat. It’s made in Brazil from recycled canvas tarps. Each hat is unique and may include patches, seams, holes and Portuguese writing or lettering. A piece of wire in the brim makes it easy to shape it as you wish.

The hat was discovered about two years ago by Real Deal founder Walter R. Perkins. He first saw a similar hat in a seaside marketplace while visiting Brazil. Eventually, he found out where the hat was made, about two hours inland, south of the equator. According to Frank Rabey, Real Deal’s public relations guy, “He made a fairly harrowing trip to their town; the heat, he says, was almost unbearable.” Perkins met with a family of sewers to see if they could make hats for him, suggesting a design with more of a traditional fedora shape. Within hours he had several prototypes.

Today, the recycled Brazilian hat has attracted many followers over here with its funky, renegade style. “The funny thing is that for many customers, the more beat up the hat looks when it arrives to them, the better,” Rabey says. For instance, a fisherman from Wisconsin wrote about the reaction he got from a clerk upon returning to his hotel after a day of fly fishing: “That is the rattiest old fishing hat I have ever seen. I bet that hat has some stories to tell.” What’s more, the hat has been made famous by Hollywood; it was worn by Woody Harrelson in the movie Zombieland.

Zombie killers, renegades … sounds like the hat for me. Maybe a pair of those pine-green Mud Gloves, too.

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2 Responses to Gardeners Get Stylish

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